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Study lays groundwork for stronger police and security collaboration

Improving communication and information-sharing between UK police forces and the country's private security industry can play a key role in reducing risk and crime, a new study has stated.

Last week (June 15th), the Police and Security Group Initiative (PaS) - a business-led forum that counts the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and Security Industry Authority among its members - published the results of a consultation carried out in February 2015.

Comprising a survey of almost 200 stakeholders, including security managers and police and public sector organisations, the study's aim was to identify possible routes towards stronger collaboration between police and the private security industry.

Study lays groundwork for stronger police and security collaboration

The findings will be used to support the delivery of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime Business and Crime Strategy, which was launched last year to protect London organisations from today's increasingly sophisticated criminal threats.

PaS found that just under a third (29.9 per cent) of respondents considered better communication and information-sharing as the most important step towards more successful police and security partnerships. Correspondingly, a near-identical figure (30 per cent) cited poor communication and information-sharing as the number one barrier to collaborative crime reduction.

As for the other enablers of collaboration, almost a tenth (9.7 per cent) of respondents cited enthusiasm and willingness to engage, 5.2 per cent said establishing common goals and objectives, and 4.4 per cent argued the case for single points of contact for all stakeholders.

The survey sample expressed greater agreement over the barriers to successful partnerships, meanwhile, with just under a fifth (17 per cent) saying that lack of trust has hurt collaboration between police and the private security industry in the past. 12.9 per cent cited resourcing issues and staff changes on the police side.

PaS now plans to act on the findings, and has established three workgroups for the purpose: the standards, training and accreditation workgroup, the information, intelligence and communications workgroup, and the effective collaboration workgroup.

"This consultation has demonstrated a high level of interest and support for developing an improved collaboration model and provided some excellent data and ideas," commented Geoff Zeidler, PaS project lead.

"The opportunities are significant and the challenge will be to deliver a limited number of recommendations on how to use and enhance existing initiatives, but also focus resource and investment."

He added: "Together, we hope that these can start to make the aspiration of a more effective collaboration between the Metropolitan Police and private security industry become concrete, and both assist and ensure learning from improvements across the whole of the United Kingdom."

Earlier this year, the BSIA issued a statement to emphasise the importance of more successful police and security partnerships at a time that forces are under growing financial pressure.

It cited transporting offenders, managing cordons and custody suites, and conducting area searches as examples of the routine police work that could be effectively outsourced to the private sector.

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of ThinkStock

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